Back to our Favorite State Park

Most hikes Allan ends up holding a tired Ember half the time. This time we let her sit in the stroller and Allan held Everett!

Ember used a stick to pretend to sweep this entire area we were hanging out at. There was a bench there and the kids were sick to death of hiking (mostly Ember and Everett) so we just stopped and spent time there. Ember cleared pretty much every pine needle out of the area! She was very determined!

Everett got the idea to throw rocks from the bench area we were sitting at into the trees below. We were on a hill so it was fun for him to watch it fly out of sight. He did that for a long time and got excited and proud of himself each time!

I set up the camera and timer to show us all looking off at the lake, which is what we were doing, but then everyone ran off right then to do other things and I didn’t want a picture of me just standing there alone so I just bent over and showed my rock. lol

Allan was kneeling in front of some stairs because Everett really wanted to climb down them but they were steep and dangerous.

Ember and Everett spent lots of time picking up stuff off the ground around them and throwing it off the deck we were on.

Someone texted me. Everett heard my phone beep from the stroller and helpfully went to retrieve it. If I don’t look at my phone when it beeps he gets really annoyed! haha! He likes me checking those messages!

He found a big stick and was happy about waving it around like a sword. He hit a bunch of things with it making a sword poking sound each time.

Allan Takes a Day Off and I Take a Hundred Pictures!

Allan took a Wednesday off work and we went for a hike at  our favorite state park. Then we picked up Brooke from school and went to Cafe Rio. Then Brooke had young women’s and while she was in young women’s we went to Wal-Mart for groceries.

It was quite chilly when we got to the trail and Ember didn’t have a sweater! We’re still adjusting to the weather suddenly being fall-like and not summer-like anymore! I let Ember wear my sweater and I just had a tank top! I was chilly!

The kids were using all the sticks and rocks as weapons. It was adorable.

Usually Allan wears Everett but I wore him this time. He kept me warm!

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of Ember hiking around in my sweater. I loved how she looked swimming in it! haha!

Running to catch up to daddy!

The trail went right by the lake.

Everett woke up from his long nap near the last part of the hike.

The clouds moved in, that was cool.

Look what Allan got! I love this picture!

Allan took this, too!

We drove to Brooke’s school to get her and then went straight to Cafe Rio! Allan took these next two pictures while I was ordering the food.

This is when Everett saw me walking back from ordering. He lit up and smiled and waved! AWWW! So glad Allan took this!

When we were getting ready to go Payson and Ember went outside (there was a door right next to our table) and did funny faces and made up sign language through the window 🙂

And lastly we went to Wal-Mart that night. It was a fun, busy day!

Driving to Washington to Visit Jeena!

This was forever ago now… but it feels like last week! I wanted to go to Jeena’s baby shower. At first the plan was for me to go with just the littlest kids. Part of that reason was because Brooke had a church thing on Saturday that she was desperate to go to. At the very last minute the church thing was cancelled due to the fires and heavy smoke in the air and literally the day before leaving for Washington it was decided that Allan and the other three kids would come with me!

In some ways that was great… being with Allan, not having to do the road trip alone. I thought it would be good.
In other ways it was horrible, and I’ll get to that through this post!!

So the trip started off pretty well! The kids were excited to go to Washington and have a road trip. Ember and Everett fell asleep and took naps and all seemed promising.
(Oh and this first picture is how Allan entertained Everett while I ran around getting everything ready the morning we left!)

I was looking and looking for healthy options for restaurant food during our trip but it was hard finding things. By the time we got to this town with a McDonald’s Everett had been screaming in the car so much that I was about to have a nervous breakdown. We kept looking for better food options and were debating stopping at a store to put something together but with the constant crying from the back seat I snapped and was like, “Let’s just do McDonald’s!!”

We had brought lunch for everyone else which we all ate in the car (sandwiches) so I took the little kids in to get them happy meals and the big kids stayed outside to play with Allan instead of being stuck sitting at a McDonald’s table.

Surprisingly Everett was repulsed by the hamburger meat. Not surprisingly he devoured the fries and freaked out with joy over his happy meal toy. It was pretty darn cute!

We were running late but I couldn’t force myself to get everyone in the car just yet. I let Everett hang out outside with everyone for another 15 minutes in hopes that he wouldn’t hate the car so much when it was time to drive again.

This is how/where I change his diaper when we’re on errands. haha

This parking lot had this cool little area that the kids loved. Rocks to climb on and gorgeous weather = win.

In this next picture Payson’s making a weird face… if you see him doing that (which you will frequently nowadays) it’s because he’s pretending to be “Jake.” Jake is a character he made up who is silly. It’s Payson’s favorite thing to play with his siblings. He’s silly and dumb and can’t do anything and the kids help him and teach him. Jake does a certain face most of the time (shown in the pic) and says a dull, “Uuuuh.” sound in response to everything. Payson’s definitely the clown in our family. We’re all constantly laughing with him.

Everett spotted a bird that landed nearby and was tickled over that. He kept doing his bird sign language sign (he used to do the fingers pinching together but now he’s shortened it to just curving his pointer finger) and started doing chirping sounds. I love that he loves animals!

So….. fast forward a bazillion hours and we’re in Washington. Everett cried and cried and cried and guess what. CRIED the rest of the way. It was traumatic. I feel my anxiety rising just remembering it!!! It was SO bad. I now despise the car. lol

So anyway we finally get to Bellingham to our hotel and we go in and there are no vacancies! Not only that the hotel staff tells Allan there are no vacancies anywhere in the city or nearby cities!

I was originally going to sleep at Jeena’s house with the little two and I think about doing that but it’s now midnight and I don’t want to wake her up PLUS my phone died and I don’t have her number memorized. So I can’t even go sleep with the littlest kids. We’re sitting in the car with five kids and nowhere to sleep and Everett is STILL crying and we’re looking at another two hour drive to a city far enough away to find a vacant hotel.

This sucks.

So, WHY were all the hotels full? Well, there was a big storm in Washington that day and the power had gone out for so many people and they’d flocked to the hotels for power!

And why didn’t Allan and I have a reservation when we always have reservations.
Well, the night before leaving we’d got online to book a room and there were rooms available but our internet wasn’t working!

Allan was calling around and around trying to find a vacancy.

He was having no luck. By this time I said we should just drive to somewhere a couple hours away but we should eat in Bellingham first because the kids were starving and wanted a break from the car. So we settled on eating at Denny’s and then heading a couple hours away to a hotel.

Allan called more places trying to find a hotel.

Kids have no concept of things going wrong. All they know is dad is on the phone a lot right now, but we’re having dinner at a fun restaurant at 1am, and we’re going to a hotel! Funnest night ever!

Once finally finding a hotel only an hour and a half away in Issaquah Allan cheered up!

We drove to Issaquah and got the hotel. They told us all five kids couldn’t stay there so Allan went and got the hotel room with only two of the kids and I took the other three in at a different time so they wouldn’t know. lol! Like, seriously you’re going to tell us we can’t sleep three in a bed?! Normally we’re strict rule followers but not that night!!

It was super rainy in Issaquah the next morning!

We scrounged up a weird food combination and fed the kids in the car.

Payson was goofing off in the parking lot (pretending to be Jake) and fell and got his pants soaked.

I did my makeup in the car as Allan drove, trying to save time.

So by the time I got to Jeena’s shower I was an hour late. I was so frustrated! There were a million other things that happened on this trip to ruin things but I don’t even remember them all! And I didn’t take one picture at the shower! I did steal this one of Ember and Audrey playing from Jeena’s friend Justyne. Justyne is Jeena’s best friend and threw the shower. Her power was out that day but she did a great job! I was impressed. She took this picture of our daughters playing together. Ember is so social and was in love with Audrey.

So then after seeing my family for about an hour we had to go home!! Can you believe that? It was such a psycho trip!

Stopping for gas on the way home.

This was a moment when Ember asked if we could roll her window down so her baby could stick her head out. Um, NO. haha

The weather that weekend didn’t disappoint. Sunny sometimes, smoky sometimes, windy and rainy and stormy sometimes… all the feels.


Letting Our Butterflies Go, Handwriting Without Tears

I’m obviously behind on blogging again. I try to not get behind but, I just can’t keep up. I am also thinking I will give up scrapbooking. I can’t keep up on that either. I am planning on making another blog and only blogging in a way that is for the kids and then I’ll print that blog into a book which will be cheaper and more importantly, take up less room than traditional scrapbooks. I’m going to try that out next year and see how it goes. I’ll miss scrapbooking, though! *cry*

Onto butterflies…
A couple days after the butterflies came out of their cocoons we let them go in our yard. We were really glad we did this butterfly kit right away because the week we let them go was nice and warm out and this last week has been really chilly. The butterflies would still probably be okay but if we waited any longer it’d be too cold here to let them go and have them survive!

A couple of the kids had butterflies land on them or were able to gently catch the butterflies and they were super excited! I didn’t do well at taking pictures because I filmed the whole thing.

One of the butterflies in our habitat came out with deformed wings. We ended up keeping him in the habitat and feeding him since he couldn’t fly and we knew he’d not survive outside. The kids all got to hold him. Brooke named him Miracle.

Back inside we started school time.

Payson and Ember are so cute when they do school together!

These two pictures I actually took when setting the exposure for a movie the girls wanted me to record. They created this long “play” about a queen, princess, and evil dead queen that they wanted me to film. I should probably finish editing it! I’ve just been busy, though!

Dentist Appointment for Brooke!

Because school for her is starting soon we get Brooke a dentist appointment.

To make things easier we get her an appointment at Allan and my dentist. They have a neat office with a fish tank that Everett loves. I stand with him watching the fish and then Sierra asks if she can hold him to show him the fish. Of course you can, Seece!

Ember and Everett shared a little seat back in the exam room.

Brooke’s teeth looked great!

We had to drive straight to the store next for groceries. Ember fell asleep on the way there so I moved her to the stroller.

She woke up about five minutes into shopping!

Starting Latter Day Learning!!

So 3 weeks (closer to 4!) after ordering our curriculum our supplies finally arrive! The kids are super excited!

 I was flustered and dropped the eggs as I was trying to put them back in the fridge. Luckily only 2 were left! I always put the shells back in the carton as I’m using it just because it’s easier that way. Regardless, it wasn’t a fun mess to clean up as the eggs that did crack got all over inside the fridge. *sob*

Everett has never seen the printer printing anything since he’s been old enough to notice so when I pulled our printer out to print some stuff for Latter Day Learning lessons he freaked out. First his eyes opened in terror, then he started pointing with a huge grin/shocked expression, then he started giggling like mad, then he brought his hands up to his mouth and laughed heartily into them. He ended up bringing me each and every page I printed, pointing and squealing and laughing at the printer each time something new came out. It was freaking adorable!!

Later in the day the kids were raiding our Halloween costumes box (which they do regularly) and were playing super heroes. Everett thought it was the best thing he’d ever seen and when Sierra stuck this mask on him he took it very seriously. He kept growling and “rawring” at everyone!

Back to Latter Day Learning, I got our timeline set up on our wall. We have very limited wall space in our house so the hallway was the only available spot!

I’d had the kids draw pictures of big events in our family’s history on index cards and then I taped them together with packing tape and folded them accordion style. This was their personal timeline and after seeing it and doing that they were much more interested in “God’s timeline” (history) and our timeline in the hall! We later taped the first index card of their timelines into the front of their binders so that they could pull out their timelines and look at them whenever they wanted to when we do school time.

By this time Everett was crying loudly and constantly so in the ergo he went while we finished up school.

This was three days after the caterpillars turned into chrysalides so we moved them to the butterfly habitat!

Everett was so exhausted that evening since he’s been fighting sleep hardcore this week. He fell asleep during dinner!!